About forty years ago, in the west of China, about 3,000 political prisoners were deported thousands of kilometres away from their families, to work in hard labour camps, lost in the middle of the desert. Forced to farm arid lands, in summer as in winter, these men were confronted with virtually total destitution. A great number of them did not long resist the scarcity of food, the harshness of physical labour, or the hostility of the natural environment, and died there. "Black Iron Days" relates the last weeks of a camp as experienced through the daily lives of a handful of these men. This is the story of LI, WEI, CHEN, DONG and Professor LUO, four witnesses of what extremities humankind can endure.